When food is your business, you need to be 100% per cent confident about your food safety and make that your business too. You might have regular cleaning and servicing set up for your refrigeration equipment, but you could also make a difference to the efficiency of your business by thinking about how you organise your fridge space.
Spending time thinking about what sits on which shelf might seem like a waste of time, or something you’ll get round to eventually, but think about it a little more now and you might consider bumping it up the priority list. Once you get out of the mentality of thinking it’s ‘just a freezer’, you’ll realise it really isn’t.
It’s All About the Space
Wherever possible, adhere to the three-inch rule: that is, give food enough space for the air to circulate around each item. Three inches is about right. This is especially important if you are storing large items or boxed food, because it will help optimise cooling and reduce hot spots.
With too much space, or not enough, commercial fridge freezers are forced to work harder than necessary, which ultimately costs your business in wasted energy and consequently hard cash. Put a systematic approach in place and your equipment will run smoothly and efficiently. Specialist retailers such as Fridge Freezer Direct have a great range of appliances with good energy ratings.
Avoid putting any food too close to fans, especially delicate fresh fruit and vegetables that could suffer “freezer burn” as a result.
Meat at the Bottom
The first rule of food safety is that raw meat is placed as low as possible, in case it drips juices as it thaws and contaminates other food as it does so. Cooked and raw meats should also be separated.
First In, First Out
Just as supermarkets and other food retailers have strict rules on rotation, so should your business when it comes to storing things in the fridge. It’s a simple principle, but it does work: when putting anything new into the fridge, it goes to the back. Store it with similar products and pull older food forwards. When taking food out, always take from the front. It might help to introduce your own system of labels or writing dates on packaging to keep this system rolling.
Label Each Shelf
This is an easy way to quickly identify products and also to put them back in the correct place or to add new food. It can also help with keeping shelves uncluttered. Keep the three-inch rule in mind.
The Food Standards Agency goes into more detail about the importance of chilling the right foods, and specifically about getting food safety right for your business.
Just a few simple steps can make a big difference to efficiency in your business, both in staff efficiency, finding what they need and quickly, and the energy consumption of your commercial refrigeration.